by Trish Yerges
Cinnamon Cottage gift and accessories shop has made its debut to the La Grande downtown district at 1112 Adams Avenue. It is co-owned by long-time friends and business collaborators Sandy Rysdam and Myra Britschgi.
Their business was founded in 1993, and for 22 years the two women worked out of their respective homes, collaborating together on ideas and coming together to sell their products at temporary shows in La Grande. But after each of them retired from the public school system, they revisited the idea of establishing a more public presence for their business.
“The juices started to flow because people have told us for years that we should have a shop,” said Rysdam. “Once we were somewhat relieved of part of our day jobs, then we went ahead and looked into opening a business. We are using Greg Smith as a consultant from EOU Small Business Development Center, and they helped us put a business plan together and talked about how to set up a business—the ground work that neither of us had any background in whatsoever.”
Their inventory includes treasures they have collected for many years from estate sales inside and outside of Union county and from thrift sales, garage sales—the whole gamut of resale markets.
“We look for items that are as good as new and resell them,” said Rysdam. “So our slogan “recycle, repurpose, restore and more” kind of fits that.”
“I like to repurpose things and make them to be useable for something a little different but still keep their name item intact,” said Britschgi. “I like to do a lot of decoupaging and give a fresh look to some pieces. I do a little bit of crafting also to incorporate into this. We’re both getting into a little furniture—a little shabby, a little sheik—things like that.”
At its new location Cinnamon Cottage occupies 1,500 square feet of store space, and it has four interior rooms, each with its own unique theme and items to match. The front room is constantly being redressed to feature one holiday theme to the next, said Britschgi. There’s a gift there for nearly every occasion, including weddings, anniversaries, holidays and house warmings, to name a few.
The co-owners noted that they are receiving their best advertising by word of mouth, but they are also capturing some tourism traffic since they opened in mid-March.
“We’ve seen visitors from South Dakota, other places in Oregon, Idaho, and California,” said Rysdam, “and they all gave us very enthusiastic comments about our shop. They liked the way it was set up, and they liked the way our rooms settings looked. Some have said we look like a Portland store, the way we are set up, and there’s nothing like it in La Grande.”
With quality products, good prices, creative presentation and friendly customer service, Rysdam and Britschgi are garnering compliments and dollars from their customers. Cinnamon Cottage is equipped to accept payments by cash, checks, debit and credit transactions.
Store hours fluctuate and are posted on their front door and on Facebook. To reach Rysdam call 541-975-3076 and Britschgi at 541-786-4676.
by Trish Yerges